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Automated tailing sample preparation

Faena: El Teniente Division

Deadline 27/03/2023

Closing Time 4:00 pm

In order to obtain information to carry out the metallurgical balance of the El Teniente Division concentrator plant, tailings samples are obtained from the canal in the tailings sampling tower using a certified cutter. The samples are reduced in mass through secondary and tertiary cutters, from which the percentage of solids (cp ) and the elements of interest (Cu, Mo, etc.) are determined, while other samples are sent to the quality control laboratory after a manual preparation (filtering, drying, packaging).

Technological solutions are sought that allow: – To determine the percentage of solids (cp ) online in the sampling tower of the tailings transported in the canal (See Annex 1: Photograph and other background, in Spanish). – Automate the preparation of tailings samples after the certified cutter, to be sent for quality control, which considers: filtering, drying and packaging a volume of pulp of 7.5 – 8.0 liters. The scouting process could lead to the identification and selection of suppliers for a competitive sourcing or purchasing process, whose scope will be defined according to the degree of maturity of the proposals that apply to the open innovation process, which could lead to a pilot validation test, or to an implementation if they are relevant and meet the evaluation and selection criteria defined by Codelco.

  • Online determination of percentage of solids (cp ): – Propose a measurement point so as not to alter the quality of the sample, as well as to ensure a precision of at least 5%. – Heavy-duty characteristics given the possible contact with abrasive pulp. – Minimum calibration requirement
  • Automate sample preparation for quality control: – Do not alter the sample at any stage of the preparation process (filtering, drying, packaging). – In the case of drying, the proposal must ensure compliance with the protocol proposed by the El Teniente Division, which considers: a temperature of 105 °C and a time of 45 min to achieve a final humidity of 9%.
  • Minimum modification of the existing infrastructure.
  • Ease of operation and maintainability.

The preparation of tailings samples for the metallurgical balance of El Teniente Division requires the on-site presence of qualified personnel in an isolated area of the plant, being exposed to demanding environmental and operational conditions and risks inherent to the task in progress.

  • Exposure of personnel to different risks as a result of the task to be carried out in an isolated place.
  • Exposure of personnel to demanding environmental conditions in an isolated area such as snow, rain, extreme temperatures, among others.


Manually and complying with current operational and safety procedures.

Identify a technology that allows to automatically prepare samples of 8 liters of fresh tailings extracted from a sample cutter, in its filtration, drying and packaging stages, along with determining the cp of the sample.

Technologies have not been tested.

The following will not be considered in the evaluation process:

  • Advisories, consultancies or engineering studies
  • Major modifications in the existing infrastructure such as the replacement of the sampling tower or others.

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